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MAJOR STUDY REFUTES PREVIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF CHILDREN AND THEOPHYLLINE TREATMENT

 MAJOR STUDY REFUTES PREVIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
 OF CHILDREN AND THEOPHYLLINE TREATMENT
 COLLEGEVILLE, Penn., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- New data conclusively demonstrate that neither asthma, nor a popular treatment for it -- theophylline -- is linked with reduced academic performance, according to a study in today's "The New England Journal of Medicine." The study, involving 255 children with asthma, was conducted at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and McFarland Clinic in Ames, Iowa.
 "The results of this study should put to rest parental concerns, as well as those of pediatricians, regarding the impact of asthma and its treatment with theophylline on children's ability to learn," commented Dr. Miles Weinberger, a pediatrician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, one of the study authors and a major investigator in the use of theophylline treatment for asthmatic children. "This is about as definitive a study as possible on theophylline's effects on the academic performance of school children," he added.
 The University of Iowa study refutes previously published reports that asthma and theophylline, one of the most commonly used medications for treating it, have been associated with reduced academic performance in asthmatic school-age children. Widespread public concerns about theophylline followed publication in the December 1986 "Pediatrics" of a four-week study of learning and behavior changes observed in mildly asthmatic children taking theophylline. Although an "FDA Drug Bulletin" reported that there was "insufficient data to state that theophylline produces an adverse effect on the performance of school children," doubts about the treatment have lingered. "The New England Journal of Medicine" report also follows a study published in the May 20, 1992 "The Journal of the American Medical Association," which concluded that theophylline has no effect on the behavior of children with asthma.
 For the year-long study, Dr. Weinberger, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the McFarland Clinic in Ames, Iowa, the Department of Child Health of the University of Missouri and Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo., identified 255 children with asthma who have taken nationally standardized scholastic achievement tests (the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development). One hundred and seventeen children received treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and 138 at the McFarland Clinic. Of the 255 total children, 101 had healthy, non-medicated siblings who also took the tests. Academic achievement among the children with asthma (treated and untreated) was similar to normative standards in Iowa and higher than national standards. None of the test score differences between the children with asthma and the non-medicated siblings were considered statistically significant.
 Slo-bid(TM) (theophylline, extended-release capsules) Gyrocaps(R), manufactured by Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: RPU), was one of the theophyllines used in the University of Iowa study. Slo- bid(TM) is indicated for relief and/or prevention of symptoms from asthma and reversible bronchospasm associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
 Rhone-Poulenc Rorer is a global pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of human pharmaceuticals. The company reported sales of $3.8 billion in 1991 and will invest $500 million in research and development in 1992.
 -0- 9/24/92
 /CONTACT: Bob Pearson of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, 215-454-3872, or Lee Davies of Davies & Murray, 212-750-3270, for Rhone-Poulenc Rorer/
 (RPU) CO: Rhone-Poulenc Rorer ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:


TM -- NY006 -- 2942 09/24/92 09:02 EDT
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Date:Sep 24, 1992
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